Back in April my boyfriend and I started to get that “itch” to go somewhere. Given the lack of vacation time I had we knew we had to pick a fairly close and easy destination to get to. From LAX you can get to Hawaii in about 5 1/2 to 6 hours which was more than doable to get away for five to six days. As usual if I have a friend who lives in the place I am going to be visiting I will pick their local knowledge to get a good idea of where to go and what to do. I told her we are “very active, adventurous people, who get bored if we just sit for too long.” With all the islands of Hawaii as an option she automatically said, “OAHU!!!” Perfect. So off we went.
This was also our first trip we have done that we stayed only in Airbnb rentals. Hotel rooms in Waikiki and Hawaii in general are ridiculous expensive in my opinion, especially given the late notice of our trip there wasn’t much left to choose from on the affordable side. We were able to find some amazing places for location and even right on the ocean for a fraction of the cost. Our first place we stayed was in Waikiki right next to the Zoo and one block off the beach, it was a studio condo which had a bar area on the second floor. Not a large place, but we weren’t in the room all that much so it was more than enough space for us.
After the usual roaming around and taking in our surroundings we woke up ready to relax and explore the island. In preparing for this trip most people said, “oh my gosh that will be so relaxing!” Come to find out, no. This trip was the least relaxing trip we have had and I would not have had it any other way. I think in total we spent at most six hours on the beach in six days. I would also encourage you to find local spots since Waikiki is so touristy for better food. Even if you call a cab, try to go off the beaten path. Traditional dishes like Kahlua Pig and Laulau are a must! We found 4.5 star local restaurant on yelp and were extremely impressed by it!
First thing on the agenda… Scooters!
Luckily per trip advisor the best place was located right behind our condo in a small alleyway attached to a hostel. We opted for the 24 hours rental with insurance so it came to about $90 for each scooter. They provided a map to follow of the highways you can and cannot take on the scooter and off we went. When you get out of main Waikiki be prepared for a four lane highway with mainly all full size vehicles. Luckily no one made us feel like we were in the way (even though we clearly were,) but with the wind and the speed of the cars going past it did have moments of feeling a bit uncomfortable. The furthest we made it was to Hanauma Bay. The water was breath-taking and truly a sight to see.
The next day I had found the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse trail to try. The hike itself wasn’t very difficult, people of all ages and some with strollers. Think an upward climb of about 9% on the treadmill. Sadly the lighthouse was closed due to construction so we couldn’t get all the way over to it to see it. On our way back down we saw a bunch of people swimming in tide pools. Well that looks awesome, “how did they get there?!” We walk all the way down and see a sandy path on the left which had clearly been used by a lot of people. Next thing you know we are going completely off the beaten path trying to find these tide pools. About an hour later of rock climbing and even though we still didn’t find the one we were looking for we did come up on a few others which just weren’t as big.
(Full disclosure I felt pretty uncomfortable climbing these rocks as far as we did… so please be careful if you choose to do this, I almost fell quite a few times and be sure to watch the tide as the waves can get really close to you if its high tide.)
Next up was the Lulumahu Falls hike and Kaniakapupu Ruins (this is a wet hike/mud hike). I will keep this segment short as we spent four hours hiking to find the waterfall and the ruins and did not find either. All we have to show for it was massive amounts of bug bites (don’t forget bug repellent as we did, you will regret it for at least two weeks) and my scraped up arms and legs from falling so much. Do some reading on how to find each of these things prior to going and do not follow the colored tags “expecting” them to lead you to the waterfall.. I know from experience they don’t, haha. With that note I shall leave you with this amazing picture of graffiti which you run into along the way and what you see as you exit the bamboo forest.
Following the failure of that hike, we had backed our bags and left Waikiki to make our way up to North Shore which is where we will be staying the last two days of the trip. I should have done more research because we weren’t really in North Shore we were in Laie, oops. We arrive at our Airbnb and are completely thrilled at the set up. We are staying in a guest house which is literally on the beach. Go through the backyard and down two steps, that’s the beach. It was wonderful. The hosts were beyond friendly and even referred us to their neighbor who rents out surf boards and paddle boards for the following day. She very nicely let us rent out her personal boards since her rentals were in the shop and only charged us $40/each for the day. This was another first for us as she gave us a starting point which was just off a bridge that led us in-between the North Shore mountains.
Winding in and around the mountains we finally reach the end which opens to the ocean. Paddle boarding in North Shore ocean – not easy. We attempted for about 30 minutes when I finally said, “ok I’m good let’s get back to the calmer water.” We finished our few hours of paddle boarding got cleaned up and went to the next stop – a first for me. A door off helicopter tour of Oahu. If you have never been on a helicopter my boyfriend sums it up like this, “fun but sketchy.” Haha, and he couldn’t be more correct. This also is a fairly expensive activity, about $180-$200 per person for a 45 minute tour. Personally one time is enough for me so I don’t think I would do this again, but it sure was fun doing it once.
North Shore is also notoriously known for Shrimp trucks so be sure to save a meal or two to try those out if you want to “taste test”. We tried Giovanni’s garlic shrimp and Romy’s garlic shrimp. Giovanni’s may be the original and have their fair share of dedicated supporters, however we preferred Romy’s by far in comparison, Enjoy!